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Swift's tale of the sisterhood of the traveling couch

Tammy Swift, columnist

It was love at first sight.

I still remember my first glimpse of her, languishing across the room in a beam of sunlight and wearing that perfect shade of citrus green.

Her name was Sofia "Comfortsleeper" Davenport, and I knew she would be mine.

She was the first piece of furniture I bought after my divorce, and she seemed to represent more than somewhere to sit.

Sofia was covered in an impractical, light-green fabric that would show every last dog hair and crumb. My ex, who favored traditional furnishings in sturdy fabrics that conveniently camouflaged gravy stains, would never have approved of this trendy, mid-mod-inspired couch, with its hefty price tag and idiosyncratic color.

So of course I had to buy it.

And you know what? I loved Sofia. It may seem materialistic to admit it, but that couch was absolutely, 100-percent me. She was like my spirit animal. She became the inspiration piece around which I bought lamps, art and area rugs. Even better, she symbolized my bold, new, divorcee lifestyle, in which I could eat spaghetti in the living room while binge-watching Rosalind Russell movies.

Then I moved into a condo. My furniture had perfectly fit my previous apartment, with its hardwood floors and huge living room.

But my condo's living room possessed an L-shaped design, which seemed too small for two couches. The green couch was squeezed in under a picture window, where I worried the constant sun would cause it to fade. My boyfriend complained that the couch was hopelessly smooshy.

And then, because the couch is always greener on the other side of the showroom, I fell in love with a vintage recliner on Craigslist. It was a crazy, cream-colored, U-shaped chair, which could have been filched from George Jetson's den. It would look absolutely perfect by the picture window — if only I could get rid of that blasted green couch.

George's chair took a place of honor in the living room while the couch was relegated to a garage sale. At least Sofia found a good home when a friend with an adorable mid-mod house bought it. Now it wouldn't wind up in some loveless home with a family of chain-smokers who collected clown art and owned an incontinent dog.

Rebecca was so thrilled with her purchase that she posted pictures of her kitties sprawled out on it on Facebook. I don't know if she used special filters, but the couch looked vibrant and chic in her place — sort of like a beau who loses a lot of weight and gets a new wardrobe after you dump him. Maybe I should have vacuumed it more.

George's throne, meanwhile, was a dud. Its 50-some-year-old reclining mechanism was temperamental — refusing to budge one second, and then threatening to launch you into space the next. (How appropriately Jetsons-esque.) Its Naugahyde upholstery felt cold and clammy against the skin. It looked great, but no one sat in it.

With the green couch gone, there really was nowhere comfortable to sit. I'd opted to keep the "other" couch — a sleek Scandinavian model — because it fit the room better, even though it felt like sitting on a glacier. Sigh.

A few years passed, and I decided to buy a twin home. It would offer a lot more space, which meant I no longer had to sit on furniture from the Marquis de Sade Collection. I began shopping for couches, but nothing seemed right. They were either too big, too small, too traditional or too modern. They were either outrageously expensive or suspiciously affordable.

If only I had the green couch, I thought. The Goldilocks couch. The one that was j-u-u-s-s-t right.

So I took a leap. I fired off a message to my friend, which started something like: "I have done some tacky things in my life, but this one may break all Land Speed Records for Tackitude..."

And I proceeded to throw myself on the mercy of the couch. I told her I would completely understand if she said no, but was there any chance at all that she would consider selling the couch back to me? I even threw in some extra cash to sweeten the deal.

Bless my wonderful friend. She got it. "My daughter calls it 'soul mate furniture,'" she wrote. "It's that furniture you've found along the way that's just 'you.' I wouldn't feel right if I stood in the way of you and your soul-mate furniture reuniting again (call me a romantic!)"

It also helped that she was getting married in a week, so was selling her house. Now she and her husband could co-purchase their own Sofia to celebrate their union. And the couch — my couch — could take its rightful place in the heart of the living room.

This tale may all seem silly, but I guess it just goes to show that:

• Sometimes we need to recognize that we had it right all along, and

• Sometimes we need to get over the idea that life would be better "if only" we had a different house/spouse/body/job/couch.

Oh, and you know what they say: If you love a couch, sell it to your friend. If she sells it back to you, it was yours. If she doesn't, just continue bugging her until she unfriends you on Facebook.

Welcome home, Sofia.

Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at tswiftsletten@gmail.com.

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